Day 5: Science and Innovation

The summit dialogue and organisational visits centered around Science & Innovation.

The day began with a sharing with Mr. Karl Baptisa. He shared many concepts, including the concept of innovation, entrepreneurship and many others. A major takeaway for me was the importance of interdisciplinary and the willingness to venture into an unknown field. Mr. Baptisa shared about how he started from growing mushrooms to a pest controller, a now, also a geneticists, anthropologist, not including many other fields. Mr. Baptisa’s success demonstrated that it is imperative for a good grasp of knowledge across many disciplines should one is a researcher. His specialization in one field did not deter him from learning more about other fields, as he willingly stepped out from his comfort zone to learn more about droplet particle, for instance, to put him in a better position to pursue his research. Though he admitted that he is a ‘jack of all trades but master of none’ and recognised the importance of being specialised in an aspect, I believe that a good grasp of knowledge in terms of width allows him to piece different ideas together to form something completely unique and purposeful. A fine line between width and breath, in relation to knowledge, must be struck in order for one to most optimally gain, think and innovate something from existing knowledge.

The visits to the Housing Development Board (HDB) and Agency of Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) were also insightful. The success of HDB clearly establishes how farsightedness and careful brings about long-term gain. The dire housing crisis which HDB was faced with was transformed into an opportunity as HDB was able to identify root of the problem, best possible solution and improvements which had to be taken along the way. The trip to A*STAR reinforced the idea of creation as a whole but with more emphasis on research. The sharing with the research scientists and short chats shared with them during lunch made me ponder about passion as all of them have the passion which drives them on intrinsically for the end result. Despite facing many challenges and failures, which are inevitable in research, they are able to fall back on their passion to spur them on.

As a whole, today was engaging and the organisational visits were interesting. Looking forward to the rest of the summit!

Bryan Tan (Hwa Chong Institution, Singapore)

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